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By Kato Mivule

According to Ugandan Press, Telecom companies are in a celebratory mood after subscribers reached 8 Million in number, given Uganda’s population of about 30 Million, which is a very significant number in the still relatively new Telecom companies in Uganda.

“Uganda’s mobile telecommunications subscriber base now stands at 8.2 million, a growth rate that is not only underscoring the pace at which Ugandans are embracing technological change but also the boundless commercial potential embedded in that deep yearning for new technologies.” The Daily Monitor        http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/business_power/Telecom_subscriber_base_now_stands_at_8million_78839.shtml

The future for Telecom companies looks great with the ever increasing middle class in Uganda that places demand for faster and better communication. It is a wonder for one to walk the streets of Kampala, Uganda’s Capital and find almost every other person with a mobile phone, which was considered a luxury for only the rich and wealthy just a few years ago.

From the Boda-Boda (Motorcycle Taxi) folks to politicians, communication has been made very easy.  Local businesses have taken on the Telecom infrastructure and used it to transact business more easily.

Take for instance, a Matoke (Banana Plantain – A staple food in Buganda, Uganda’s central region) dealer does not have to board a Taxi to go to Masaka (a Town in Uganda) from Kampala to place orders for Matoke, he simply calls and this makes his business much easier…  The Telecom Boom in Uganda is really remarkable and revolutionary.

However, despite the Telecom advances and the growing number of subscribers, major challenges remain that daunt Africa in growing out of its plight. There still remains poverty, diseases, and illiteracy.

The moral challenge for Telecom companies in Uganda which are currently harvesting huge profits from the exponential number of subscribers is to find ways to employ the current Telecom infrastructure to fight Poverty, Illiteracy, and Diseases.  It is in their interest to do so, rather than just focus on making hefty profits. A healthy society, an educated people, and a financially stable population will be of real ‘interest’…

Many Ugandans, who own Mobile Phones, only use them for making and receiving calls but perhaps more can be done. There is no doubt that Telecom companies in Africa are the current “Big Thing”.

However, many are still locked in the idea of simply increasing subscribers. Telecom companies in Uganda are among the largest spenders when it comes to advertisement, with budgets that would catch the attention of a Western Marketing Agent.

Telecom companies can move to show Ugandans and Africans that they can utilize the current Telecom Infrastructure to better their lives and fight diseases, poverty, and illiteracy. In the long run it is the Telecom companies that benefit from the increased usage of their infrastructure.

It is time Uganda’s Telecom companies moved beyond ‘Subscribers’ and “Boundless Commercial Potentials”… When Africans fare well, Telecom companies will fare even well…


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We shall feature more info in this space on Open Source Technologies and how they can be of help to Africa…
We shall carry out reviews on different open source technologies and how they can be employed to help Africa…
Kato Mivule

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